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Front Neurorobot. 2018 Oct 26;12:69. doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2018.00069. eCollection 2018.

Existence of Initial Dip for BCI: An Illusion or Reality.

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School of Mechanical Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea.
Department of Cogno-Mechatronics Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea.


A tight coupling between the neuronal activity and the cerebral blood flow (CBF) is the motivation of many hemodynamic response (HR)-based neuroimaging modalities. The increase in neuronal activity causes the increase in CBF that is indirectly measured by HR modalities. Upon functional stimulation, the HR is mainly categorized in three durations: (i) initial dip, (ii) conventional HR (i.e., positive increase in HR caused by an increase in the CBF), and (iii) undershoot. The initial dip is a change in oxygenation prior to any subsequent increase in CBF and spatially more specific to the site of neuronal activity. Despite additional evidence from various HR modalities on the presence of initial dip in human and animal species (i.e., cat, rat, and monkey); the existence/occurrence of an initial dip in HR is still under debate. This article reviews the existence and elusive nature of the initial dip duration of HR in intrinsic signal optical imaging (ISOI), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). The advent of initial dip and its elusiveness factors in ISOI and fMRI studies are briefly discussed. Furthermore, the detection of initial dip and its role in brain-computer interface using fNIRS is examined in detail. The best possible application for the initial dip utilization and its future implications using fNIRS are provided.


brain–computer interface (BCI); functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS); initial dip; intrinsic signal optical imaging (ISOI); neuronal firing; vector phase analysis

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